As June is upon us, farmers are using more and more anhydrous ammonia. Anhydrous ammonia is a relatively inexpensive and effective fertilizer that is popular for farming purposes. My main task is to deliver anhydrous ammonia tanks to our farmers. I have spent many hours in the truck delivering one thousand gallons of anhydrous ammonia at a time. The farmers use the stuff quicker than I can get it there.
After farmers are done using anhydrous ammonia, my job will become much less hectic and my hours will start to fall until there is no more for me to do by mid July. Due to the nature of the farming season, my job will end around that time.
Anhydrous ammonia is a very dangerous chemical. It is an inhalation hazard that can lead to lung problems, blindness and even death. Although it is considered a non-flammable liquid, it does burn under the right conditions. In fact, there was an incident in Texas in 2013 involving anhydrous ammonia that led to several large explosions and unfortunately a large number of fatalities according to a CNN article. According to Merriam-Webster, anhydrous is defined as “free from water.” As such, water works very well to flush anhydrous ammonia. Earlier today, there was a small spill of the substance very close to where a co-worker and I were standing. The pungent odor and stinging in our nostrils drove us to evacuate to about 20-30 meters from the spill just to be safe. I took precaution by swishing water in my mouth and spitting it out as well as wetting my eyes. I was not around for the cleanup effort, so unfortunately I missed out on what that entails.
Anhydrous ammonia can be fatal if not handled carefully. It may be cheap and effective, but it isn’t a perfect fertilizer. Anhydrous ammonia should be used with caution. I enjoy working with farmers who understand the dangers of the fertilizer and are careful to keep themselves and everyone else safe.
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